Listening {to the stressed out mom} without Judgement


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Listen : Listening : Corpus Christi Moms : Coastal Bend Moms

As the mom of two kids, I like to think that I’m a veteran of this mom business. I try not to sweat the small stuff and plan for the big stuff. I know that controlling the chaos depends a lot on having a handle on a series of mundane tasks that take planning …. except that in the middle of all of that planning, life happens.

The ugly truth is that the regular business of raising kids isn’t pretty and the pictures hardly ever make it to our Instagram feed. 

When a  friend with children vents her frustrations and we begin a response with ” why don’t you just..” or “couldn’t you just…”, we have to take a moment and pause to consider the words that we are saying.

Are we actually trying to help?

Do our words offer real advice?  Or are we really just passing judgment when we tell her that if she were just a little more capable she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed.

We don’t realize it, but we turn a stressful moment into something that was her fault because she wasn’t enough: She isn’t organized enough, patient enough, or strict enough.

We forget that no matter how many things we check off of our to-do list,  life with kids is unpredictable and can spin out of our control.

We undermine the woman who is trying her best, but still has the occasional 7:28am freak out because she got out of work late the day before and she didn’t go through little Suzie’s backpack so she didn’t see note  that Suze shoved at the bottom a week ago telling her that she was snack mom for that same day,  and  the dog puked on the carpet, and her 15 year old son can’t find his housekey and, in her rush to make it home so she could make dinner; she decided that she would put gas in her car in the morning and the tank is on E. I mean…amiright?

{I don’t mean to leave out the experiences of stay at home moms, but this scenario is one that I am familiar with.}

I know that when I’ve already had a long day at 8:15am and I’ve had to vent or start crying, the last thing that I want is for the conversation to go like this:

“Why don’t you just put up a command center where the kids can hang their keys,  leave their school notes and everything is together and organized. You can even put up a chore chart and get the kids to help you more…I saw one on Pinterest that was really cute. Evan really is old enough to help out more. Why didn’t Chris just start dinner for you?”


I can’t be the only one who feels vaguely defensive because her life is messy enough for her morning to explode every once in a while.

If I feel it, I know that other women with kids are feeling it too.

In an act of solidarity to my fellow moms, I want to make the effort to listen thoughtfully to what someone is communicating. the next time someone feels secure enough to vent to me about her messy life and she seems like she’s about to lose it, I’m not going to offer up a “simple” solution that she has most likely already considered or the ways that my life is harder than hers.

Instead, I’m going to offer her a tissue, or a drink, and I’m going to say, ” I know, girl, I know.”